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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

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  • Description

    Manuscript painting of Kṛṣṇa-lila with inscription. He is portrayed here as the lover 'par excellence', a dark-skinned hadsome youth playing the flute and ravishing the hearts of the local milkmaids, 'gopis', with his appearance and haunting melodies. The melody magically causes each of the 'gopis' to imagine that he is dancing with her alone. Drum and cymbal players at the bottom left accompany the wild gyrations of the besotted milkmaids. Painted on Paper.


  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1630-1640 (circa)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 28.2 centimetres (including border)
    • Width: 20.1 centimetres (including border)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

  • Curator's comments

    Dallapiccola 2004:
    Krishna ('dark') is the eight incarnation of Vishnu. It is probably a pastoral deity in which the life stories of other local gods and heroes merged. Known of since the early centuries AD, Krishna became one of the most important gods of India through the pivotal influence of fifteenth and sixteenth century mystics who emphasized the emotional side of his 'bioghraphy'.Blurton 1992:
    The element of intense emotion is emphasised by the use of a scarlet background for the 'gopis'. A very similar painting is today housed in the Rajasthan Oriental Institute of Jodhpur.


  • Bibliography

    • Ahluwalia 2008 p. 52, fig. 25 bibliographic details
    • Blurton 1992 p.136, fig.82 bibliographic details
    • Dallapiccola 2004 p.87 bibliographic details
  • Subjects

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Painting. General subject - deity. Krishna-lila,+inscription. Painted on Paper.

Painting. General subject - deity. Krishna-lila,+inscription. Painted on Paper.

Image description



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Object reference number: RFI1798

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